Today, while in my local GameStop trying to acquire a Sony PlayStation 5, I noticed there was a Chuck E. Cheese across the street. I haven’t been inside of one since me and The Community Planner took her son to the Waldorf location back in 2011. I’m not a fan of the pizza from Chuck E. Cheese so I just never really find myself there. It’s a taste that has never really sat right with me. It’s funny because, for a short time before Chuck E. Cheese, I loved the pizza—and the action—at the pizza place it took over. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: Showbiz Pizza Place.
How I first came across this moment? My memories of Showbiz Pizza Place take me back as far as August 1990. My sister was celebrating her 4th birthday and we were at the Showbiz Pizza location on Parkway East in Birmingham.
What it meant to me then? I was 5 years old in a family entertainment center that sold pizza and had a ball pit. What do you think it meant to me then? It was everything. I loved the pizza. I loved the ball pit. I loved the rides. I loved getting as many tickets as possible so that I could get a prize. Most of all, I loved Dook LaRue and how he did his thing on the drums.
What it means to me now? Showbiz turned into Chuck E. Cheese when I was around 7-8 years old. Though the ball pit and the games were basically the same, the pizza was different and the band didn’t have Dook LaRue. It’s for all of those reasons why I never really vibed with Chuck E. Cheese. But Showbiz Pizza…that was the spot. I heard several moons ago, through military channels, that there was a location in Abu Dhabi within earshot of Al Dhafra Air Base. I never got a chance to go to the UAE so that was a dead-end for me. Nevertheless, Showbiz Pizza Place is a spot I’ll always remember.